Rhubarb Icebox Cake + 5 Icebox Cake Links For Summer

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This recipe for rhubarb-strawberry icebox cake is a riff on the traditional chocolate icebox cake. It is easy to make and tastes like summer. It seems foolish to even post this recipe with so much unrest and pain in our world. I can appreciate the black squares that popped up all over Instagram shortly after the horrific killing of George Floyd, however, if white people truly want to support the Black Lives Matter cause it is time to donate whatever money you can. If you can’t donate money, donate your time. Less talk and more action will lead to change. Here are a few local resources for Massachusetts residents but many of these organizations have chapters throughout the country. Please have a look and donate what you can. Every bit helps.

Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/chapters/,

NAACP: https://www.naacp.org/,

National Police Accountability Project: https://www.nlg-npap.org/

Massachusetts Bail Fund: https://www.massbailfund.org/

Youth Enrichment Services https://yeskids.org/

Rhubarb Icebox Cake

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for Cookies:

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup of sugar

1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Ingredients for rhubarb filling:

4 cups washed, diced rhubarb, about ½ inch pieces

¾ cup of sugar

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Ingredients for whipped cream:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Fresh strawberries, sliced thin for garnish if desired

Directions for cookies:

Preheat your oven to 300F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Using a small bowl mix together the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together the vanilla mixture, almond extract, sugar, and butter until well-combined and smooth.  Add the flour.  Mix until the dough comes together.  Use a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop and scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets.  Press the cookies flat with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar to ¼ inch thickness.  Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Once cooked, transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Directions for the rhubarb filling:

Add the prepared rhubarb, ½ cup of sugar, nutmeg, orange zest, and ginger to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Mix together cornstarch, remaining sugar, and two tablespoons of cold water.  Add to rhubarb filling and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the filling no longer appears cloudy.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

Directions for whipped cream:

Chill a mixing bowl.  Once chilled, add the heavy cream and sugar.  Whip until the cream thickens soft to medium peaks form.  Add vanilla.  Set aside or chill until ready to assemble the cake.

Assembly time!

Spread a tablespoon of rhubarb filling on top of a cookie then add another cookie to make a sandwich.  Continue to add filling and cookie, stacking them on top of each other.  Once you have 6 or so sandwiches, lay the cookies horizontally on a tray or serving dish.  Continue adding cookie sandwiches until all of the cookies and filling are used.  Spread prepared whipped cream over the entire cake, top and sides.  Make sure all of the cookies are covered with whipped cream.  Place the cake in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.  Before serving, decorate with fresh strawberries, thinly sliced.  Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.  Enjoy!

5 Icebox Cake Links

My grandmother made an icebox cake she called three layer delight for years when I was growing up.  I adored it and I think you will too.  Here is the recipe from Mountain Mama Cooks.

Looking for an icebox cake that serves one or maybe two? Your search is over.  I am a food blog has a recipe for mini green tea chocolate no-bake icebox cake that is sure to satisfy any craving.

Alexandra Cooks is by far my favorite food blog.  Check out her recipe for chocolate-espresso cake icebox cake.  You will not be disappointed.

Switch up your traditional chocolate wafer icebox cake and try Zoe Bake’s icebox cake with chocolate wafers and caramel whipped cream.  This is on my must-make list!

Now that it is blueberry season why not try a blueberry lemon icebox cake.  Crazy for Crust’s recipe screams summer!

Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake + 5 Must Read 2020 Baking Books

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Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

 

Anne looked for Tess in the everyday.  At first, it was the strong breeze at Tess’ funeral on an otherwise calm day.  How beautiful the cherry blossoms rained on them.  The grievers, the grief-stricken, the heart-broken, the lost.  Cherry blossoms floating, flying through the air, landing on their jackets, settling in their hair.

Are you the tenacious breeze Tess?  You made yourself known again.  It was a beautiful display of your all-encompassing presence. Bursts of lightning and hail at Red Rocks while Grace and Anne watched the Avett Brothers sing holding out hope the storm would pass.  And then it did pass.  You pushed out the weather and revealed the stars.  We sang and danced.

Months later an enormous dragonfly landed on Anne’s mailbox, her tiny head facing the house as if ignoring the world. She refused to leave.  Anne poked at it. Nothing but a slight movement in the wing.

What’s wrong with it, Mama? 

I’m not sure.  How do you explain a living thing desiring to stay when it knows it would be best to leave?  You don’t.  Some things are unexplainable.

Fall came and so did the dead bird.  The bird lay on the stone steps outside of Anne’s house, wings to the ground, its underbelly exposed to the sky, bright white, her tail feathers ombre shades of pale blue.  A single leaf-covered her head as if she were part of a crime scene.  Anne stared at it for a few seconds before the kids came out of the house, backpacks in hand ready to go to school.

Mama, what happened?

Gross!

Can we have a funeral for it? 

Not now.  Get in the car. We are late.  

Later that day they did have a funeral for the bird.  Not really.  The kids lost interest and just wanted Anne to get rid of it.  Except for her older son.  He handed Anne the shovel after a failed attempt at digging a hole into the semi-frozen ground.  Anne forced the shovel through the frosted ground, raising the handle above her head and coming down as hard as she could breaking through the ground.  Over and over again.  Anne’s heart pumped hard.  She could feel it.  Tears welled but never spilled over.  Anne gently placed the bird in the ground and covered her with the earth.

I’m glad we planted her there, Mama.  He walked into the house and closed the door.  If only we could plant the things we love and loose and eventually they come back in the spring blooming once again.

The last visitor was a ladybug.  She landed on Anne’s hand at some point without Anne noticing.  It wasn’t until Anne lifted the toilet brush out of the now clean toilet that Anne spotted her.  How strange.  Anne walked down the creaky old stairs.  The ladybug was still sitting on her hand.  She opened the front door and blew as if blowing out birthday candles.  She flew away.

Did you make a wish?

I forgot.

Anne didn’t forget.  She wished for peace.  Not world peace.  That won’t happen.  But peace in her crippled heart.  Peace in the heart she felt beating, once again, after a long silence, when she buried the bird.

 

Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Simple Cakes by Odette Williams

Ingredients:

1 + ½ cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of kosher salt

½ teaspoon espresso powder

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 + 1/3 cups of sugar

¾ cup of mild extra virgin olive oil

½ cup of whole milk

½ cup of buttermilk

¼ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon of orange zest

Ingredients for glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar,

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons of boiling water,

½ teaspoon of vanilla

Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Butter, flour, and line with parchment paper 1 8×3 inch cake pan.  Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until very pale, about 3-5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Next, add the oil, buttermilk, milk, orange juice, zest.  Beat on low speed until frothy, about 1 minute.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until the cake springs back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely.  While the cake is cooling, make the vanilla glaze.

 

Directions for the glaze:

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium-size bowl.  Add the softened butter.  Pour boiling water over butter.  Whisk until the butter melts and the sugar and water come together to make a glaze.  Add vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Assembly:

Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, spreading gently with an offset spatula if necessary.  Decorate with sanding sugar or sprinkles if desired.  The cake can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

5 Baking Books to Check Out in 2020

Midwest Made by Shauna Sever is on all the lists right now.  Her recipes come straight from the heart of America.  You can get your copy here.

Weeknight Baking by Michelle Lopez, the author of the blog Hummingbird High, is a must-read for any home baker with easy and delicious recipes, as well as, suggestions for riffs to make it your own.

Looking to try something new this year or up your pastry skills?  Check out Pastry School by Le Cordon Bleu.  This baking book is a step by step baking guide for beginners, as well as, professionals.  Check it out!

Joanne Chang is by far one of my favorite bakers.  Her latest book Pastry Love is on my must-purchase list.

New to baking?  Buy a copy of Beginner’s Baking Bible by Heather Perine you will become an expert in no time…or at least more capable in the world of butter, flour, and sugar.